Cathedral of Primus
Pointed arched halls lead inwards following a counterclockwise spiral to the central chamber. The halls themselves crisscross and were they seen from above, would form an intricate overlapping pattern, some open to the crossing line, some going over or under in ever tighter loops. Inside, the ceiling is masked with arches of metal intermingled with panes of transparent material lit from within. Shadows fill seemingly chaotically placed niches while brilliantly lit swatches cut across the floor of the nave like the eye of the creator himself searching for his chosen. Rivulets of solidified metal seem to bleed from the walls, frozen in pools of mingled blues, crimsons, ambers and violets. Even inside the heart of the cathedral, that subsonic thrum can be almost heard, almost felt as a dissonant tonal itch.
The Cathedral! But who is that walking inside it, the front doors slamming behind him as he goes, striding with purpose and resolute action? It is no Disciple of Primus, it is Sixknight, the sixchanger. He crackles with energy as he looks about taking in the scenery. "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood," he utters. "And sorry I could not travel both..."
And what scenery it is. The weak, the wretched, the empty, humans and cybertronians alike, gather here, a small motely comprised of the very dregs gather here, most not even noticing the knight's arrival as they stare with expectant awe at the empty pulpit. There's an solem hush... a hush which is suddenly broken by a low rolling chant and the sound of heavy boots. Two lifeless heads hover into the main church from an arch, the chant projecting from speakers lodged in their gaping mouths. And behind them comes the strange and awesome form of Fulcrum, prophet and preacher of Primus, smoke curing around his form from the braisers on his shoulders and staff.
From outside, Grimlock flies through the desolate skies, arms outstretched in front of him. He's dressed in the full regalia of the head of state -- A tattered, dark-colored American flag cape draped about his shoulders snapping in the wind behind him, and the Crown of Liberty bolted onto his helmet. His sword is drawn and pointing towards the horizon, guiding his flight path with its golden point, while his other arm cradles his ballista -- ready for interference. He dips lower as he approaches the Cathedral, legs swinging out beneath him and touching down on the scorched Earth in front of the Graveyard of the Gods. He marches forward through the macabre scene, optical visor stoically panning over faces nearly forgotten.
From outside, Blitzwing glides down with his engines ticking just over their stall speed to conserve fuel, transforms and crashes down near Grimlock with a resounding thud. "Whaddya hope to find here, Grim? These guys are certifiable."
Sixknight starts to approach the pulpit and then halts, a respectable distance. He surveys the scene with some distate, seeing the dregs of society kept here alive, as if their sole function was to be simply sentient enough to worship. "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I... I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." He finishes his recitation with a smile, his visored optics still taking all the sights and sounds in. And then he calls out: "Preacher! I am Sixknight of the Reapers, and I request an audience!"
From outside, Somewhere over the great expanse of what once was Texas hovers a rather piratical-looking schooner, half wooden, and half metal, seemingly from some naval warship from a time long past. From the deck rise three masts; on two hang sails of cloth and fabric, while from the mainmast hangs a giant collection of solar panelling, which is, apparently, powering the hovering mechanism that keeps the ship floating over dry land. At the wheel stands a blue and grey robot with a rather snappy hat; the name emblazoned on the front of the ship reads simply "N.A.S. Pursuit Special." Whatever that means.
From outside, Grimlock takes one last look around before sheathing his broadsword and clipping his ballista to his hip, covering both weapons up with a careful tug of his cape. "I, Grimlock, hope that desperate times shall make for unlikely allies," he says, continuing to march forward towards the looming cathedral. "Keep your weapons stowed for now, Blitzwing. I know it's too much to expect the Church to speak in terms of reason, but I hope to at least not provoke them to violence the moment we arrive."
From outside, Blitzwing clips his rifle to his back. "All right, but the whole lot of 'em are Section Eights if you ask me, I doubt they'll be much use to us unless we're as short of gibbering and drooling as we are of fuel."
"Shhh!" "Quiet!" "Shutup!" come the hisses from the congregation, but Sixknight continues with his proclamation. Fulcrum turns his burning optics on Sixknight, his expression like a thundercloud as he takes the iron-bound book from his belt and slams it onto the puplit with a resounding THUD. "You DARE?" he booms, the congregation cringing as his voice, amplified by the servo-heads that float around him, rolls and echos through the cathedral. "You DARE interrupt our worship, our communion with GOD?"
Grimlock has arrived.
Blitzwing has arrived.
Durango has arrived.
"Yes Preacher, I dare" Sixknight proclaims, as he starts to walk slowly towards the pulpit again. "Though I respect your attempts to find your inner peace, flawed as they are. The answer is from within preacher, not without." He taps his chest at this. "And what is belief if it is forced upon one?"
Grimlock pushes open the heavy main entrance doors to the cathedral, resulting in a groan of metal that echoes throughout the building's many chambers. He takes a few steps forward into the building, nodding for Blitzwing to follow. "Have you ever been in the Cathedral before, Blitzwing?" He asks, his tone of idle curiousity, as he marches towards the central chamber.
The gathered masses flinch and shy away from Sixknight as he approaches their priest, Fulcrum opening the book in front of him, the cover striking the pulpit with another heavy boom. "He speaks from ignorance" Fulcrum declaims, his eyes sweeping around the room. "Ignorance, doubt, and fear. The flame of Primus does not come from without. The flame of Primus BURNS inside ALL of us. He is our life, our spark. Without him.. we are nothing. Less than nothing. DUST." Seems like he's going to give that sermon after all.
"Can't say as I have," mutters Blitzwing, swinging his baleful red eyes from left to right as he follows Grimlock. "I got enough of that behavior on the rare occasions I was unable to avoid the Sweeps."
Outside, the N.A.S. Pursuit Special comes to a standstill a short way from the Cathedral. It'd been.....forever, almost, since he'd been here...and while Durango wasn't sure as to why Grimlock's transponder led him here, he'd follow it none the less. From the garbled radio message that he'd recieved, things had gotten dire...perhaps moreso than he thought, if Grimlock had joined the Church.
Sixknight takes out his own book, a clothbound volume embossed with a gilt hexagon. "What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make and end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from." He reads this slowly and firmly, looking at Fulcrum, before snapping his book closed and putting it safely away. "What is your end, Preacher? When the universe talks with your voice, what will your pleasures be then?"
Grimlock enters the central chamber, his optical band sweeping over the two figures engaged in a theological description at the forefront. "Hnnngh," he growls, slightly. "A Sixchanger." He motions towards one of the unoccupied pews, walking towards it. Grimlock is never capable of being stealthy, but he's not trying to draw attention to himself just yet. "We shall let the Preacher finish his sermon," he instructs Blitzwing, pulling out one of the sacred texts from the back of the pew in front of him. "If you offend their rituals, it's as good as walking in here with weapons blazing."
Fulcrum's voice booms around the arched room, the preacher's gaze terrible to behold. How dare Sixknight come in here and start talking nonsense! "This world.. this UNIVERSE is ending, Sixknight. You have seen the signs. First Cybertron, now Earth.. corruption and decay spreads through the galaxy like a plague. A plague of Sin. A plague of Disobediance. A plague of hatred and fear. And why?" He pauses for dramatic effect, his ghoulish floating heads taking up new positions over the crowd. "BECAUSE WE HAVE FORGOTTEN HIM. Primus has punished us for our unbelief. He is bringing an end to all things, and only those that remember him, that BELIEVE in him.. they, and they alone shall be spared. Shall become one with Primus."
"Don't have to tell me twice," replies Blitzwing. Sixchangers, huh? He crosses his arms skeptically.
Durango takes his time walking through the corridors, taking care to move as quietly as someone of his stature can. The scene that unfolds before him is .... incredible, to say the least. Things have decayed since last he was here. He scans the area, looking for Grimlock, but for now stays posted at the back of the central chamber.
"Faith is all well and good..." Sixknight utters, looking at Fulcrum's floating heads with interest. "But only when it is used properly. The Sixchanger form is, you know, the ultimate form of the Transformer lifeform. Primus himself had six faces, I believe. Five that he showed the outside world, and one that was his true self, that he showed only to himself. The future, the apex of your faith stands before you Preacher. Oh..." he gives a small smile. "And you have more visitors this day. A recruitment drive, perhaps?"
Grimlock bows his head as the floatingheads sweep near his pew, reverently opening up his tome and flipping to the appropriate text. "00110110:00110110:00110110 - The End Times," the book states. "One thing I admire about the Church is the uncanny accuracy of their predictions," he mutters to Blitzwing, waiting ot be acknowledge by the Preacher before speaking. "Then again, cults were always highly tuned to apocalypses."
"It makes me uncomfortable," replies Blitzwing frankly, paging through his chapterbook absently. "I like concrete, practical stuff. This superstition leaves more unanswered than it answers."
"HERESY" Fulcrum declaims, leveling an accusatory finger at Sixknight. "You think yourself the equal of GOD? We are ALL insignificant before Him. Your pride will only see you cast out when all has been destroyed, when all is a singularity.. when All Is One."
Sixknight folds his arms, nodding his head slowly at Fulcrum. "One mans heresy is another mans truth" he announces. "I have come to talk Preacher, if you are not interested, then there is little reason for me to be here. But perhaps what I came to say would have been of interest. The road... not taken." He smiles at that. "Till all are six"
Durango mumbles something under his breath, which, even if you overheard it, would sound like a random list of words that somewhere contained a subject and predicate. Think of it..hundreds of years, in Australia, with an ever-evolving dialect of rhyming slang. Chances are he's nigh incomprehensible. He begins to walk forward, slowly, scanning pews for anything that looks like it might be Grimlock.
"I agree, Blitzwing," Grimlock says, returning his techno-bible to its holster and standing up. "But we need all the help we can get. And it seems we may have our opening." He steps out of the pew, now, in full sight of Durango and everyone else in the congregation, marching up the central aisle towards the pulpit, his American flag cape shifting gently behind him. "Preacher," he states, his voice firm but not aggressive, "May I, Grimlock, have a word?"
Fulcrum grinds his teeth, his optics sliding over each of his rather unwanted guests. "This service is over" he proclaims to the huddled masses, who rather quickly vacate the premises with some relief. He closes the book on the pulpit, returning it to the hook at his belt, then steps down from the altar, his tread heavy on the stone floor, his servo-heads obediently taking up position behind him as he moves towards his "visitors". "While I am always happy to recieve those who wish to hear the truth of Primus, interruptions are not welcome. Speak your piece" he scowls at Sixknight. "Apart from you, you have already proclaimed your ignorance."
Durango finds Blitzwing, and takes a seat next to the Triplechanger, without saying a word. Just a nod.
Sixknight stares lowly at Fulcrum as he stands aside. "I came here looking for a friendly voice, it seems I found much the opposite" he mutters. "A closed mind is a terrible thing Preacher. A terrible thing indeed." He then stands silent as if a sentinel, watching Grimlock with interest. "Ah, at last..."
"An open mind is like a fortress with its gate unbarred and unguarded" replies Fulcrum rather smugly.
Blitzwing leans over towards Durango. "Grimlock's got something to say but I don't know what he wants from these guys," he asides in a low voice, "so keep yer lip zipped for now."
Durango nods back to Blitzwing. "Brew chaps, mate."
Grimlock straight up ignores Sixknight, his attention on Fulcrum. "Fulcrum," he says, extending both hands, palms up. "I come to ask for your help. Praxis has grown more aggressive of late... He is planning a final push to extinguish my people once and for all. Without us to resist him, it won't be long before he marches further south and sets his sights on the Church. With your Zealots fighting by our side, we may yet stand a chance."
Astrotrain has arrived.
Blitzwing is sitting in one of the big robot-scaled pews near Grimlock and Durango, looking extremely skeptical.
Fulcrum's burning optics flicker, Grimlock's plea for assistance coming as a surprise. Oh, the preacher is fully aware of Praxis's activities, but he didn't expect Grimlock to approach the Church for help. "Your 'New America' is a nest of sin and degredation" Fulcrum states slowly, without accusation or ire, as if stating a universal truth. "You turn away our missionaries, you mock the truth of Primus, and yet in your hour of need, you turn to God. I was once in the same position, and the flame of Primus saved my from my despair. How can we help you against your enemies if you will not let us help your people see the Truth of God?"
"You would look to one of your enemies to help against another, Grimlock?" Sixknight utters as he watches on, internally amused at Grimlock's negotiations. "Better the devil you know, I imagine. Any victory against Praxis will have its price Grimlock, let that not be your immortal spark."
"I mock nothing, Preacher," Grimlock replies, firm and cool. "America is a nation based on freedom. The freedom of ideas, expression... of belief. The Church has always been welcome in New America so long as it respected the beliefs of others." Sixknight is given a glance. "Sixchanger," he responds, "Mark my words. You only live and speak at this moment because I do not wish to disrespect the Church by soiling the floor of its cathedral with your energon."
Astrotrain is of course the ride, and is totally waiting outside. Probably cause Grimlock knew well enough not to let him -anywhere- inside the church and near these people lest he'd have to gag him permanently.
As such the triplechanger stands, arms crossed as heleans against a piece of the landscape. "Eee ahh ooh aahh ahh...walla walla bing bang...."
Blitzwing snickers in the sixchanger's direction. He obviously thinks them terribly crass. Three should be plenty for anyone. Six is just jumping the shark.
Durango, has, for his part, remained with the same two modes he's always had. Talk about looking out of place. He sits, and waits for the conclusion of this little escapade.
"Do not be crass, Grimlock" Sixknight utters, his right fist starting to glow with a pale blue energy, a slight sucking in of the atmosphere around him as his Tenchokon energy crackles. "You may be able to kill me, but you would die in the process, that I guarantee. But I would speak with you, and speak with you peacefully. Later"
Fulcrum strokes his beard. "Nevertheless. The Church of Primus is seen as a bunch of.. "looneys" in your nation. Perhaps a high profile conversion would show your people that they have nothing to fear from us." The preacher looks over at Sixknight, seeming to consider new and interesting ways to shut him up. "When Judgement Day comes, your spark will be extinguished, your last moments spent lamenting that you did not accept the Flame of Primus. OR, Grimlock could offer you up as a sacrifice to our god NOW."
Blitzwing points out, "Grimlock wasn't even made by a Quintesson, he was made by Wheeljack. That makes him like, even further from Primus than the rest of us."
(OOC - then I had to leave. But there wasn't much else after that anyway)